A state-of-the-art training center located in the mining community of Rio Tuba in Bataraza, in the southern part of Palawan, is poised to provide its residents the opportunity to shape a brighter future.

A state-of-the-art training center located in the mining community of Rio Tuba in Bataraza, in the southern part of Palawan, is poised to provide its residents the opportunity to shape a brighter future.

Barangay Captain Nelson D. Acob says that trainings to be conducted in the new facility, once fully operational after the pandemic, will empower local residents because it will provide the tools for more people to be qualified for good paying jobs based on skills they will acquire.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, giving his full support to the Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector of the country, signed Executive Order 83 last June, approving and adopting the National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan (NTESDP) 2018-2022 “to mobilize, galvanize and strengthen the TVET”.

Under EO 83, all local government units and the private sector are “to adopt, disseminate and support the implementation of the NTESDP, which stands as the blueprint for TVET.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) on the other hand, with an approved P14B budget for 2021, is mandated to “ensure that all skills development programs and scheme conform with the quantitative objectives of the NTESDP”.

Acob says there are a lot of opportunities for use of the new Training Center with the President’s support.

“The approved 2021 national budget, specifically TESDA budget, has ample provisions for community-based training programs and training for work scholarships which take advantage of because we have the facility to conduct trainings right here ni Rio Tuba,” Acob exclaims.

The huge taxes it earns as host to two major mining companies has made Bataraza a bustling first-class municipality. It is also the most populated municipality in Palawan and the LGU is closely monitoring the number of unemployed youth, as recorded by the Philippine Statistics Authority, largely because of in-migration and population growth.

“We need to immediately address the issue of youth unemployment and we believe that providing them with knowledge and skills to have fulfilling jobs as soon as possible is key,” adds Acob.

The new training center, jointly funded by Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp (RTNMC), a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), will have audio-visual rooms and dedicated areas for various workshops, and will be equipped with conveyor belts, overhead cranes, vertical structure platforms, electrical simulators for trainings. It will host classes for skills education and job-preparatory training based on the courses that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) offers.

The Center is CBNC’s and RTN’s show of commitment to the mining communities. The mining companies, who work with the communities and disadvantaged residents to foster integral human transformation and contribute to the poverty alleviation initiatives of President Duterte, believe the Center will help develop entrepreneurial skills that can guide people towards economic independence and to a more secure future.

Reynaldo “Bong” Dela Rosa, Community Relations Manager for RTNMC, shares that Bataraza aims to forge a partnership with TESDA for the job-preparatory skills training and for the NC-II National Certificates that will be given to the graduates.

Dela Rosa says that a survey was conducted to determine what kind of skills training the residents of the mining communities prefer.

“The survey covering some 5,000 households in 5 Barangays (Rio Tuba, Ocayan, Sumbiling, Sandoval and Iwahig), shows that residents prefer technical trainings such as Driving, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Cookery, Auto Electrical Assembly and Agricultural Crops Production, and also, masonry, carpentry, pipefitting, automotive, plus specialized courses such as weight load simulation, heavy equipment operation, welding and electronics.,” says Dela Rosa.

The new facility, also to serve as center for manpower pooling that will regularly train residents to be highly-qualified for local, domestic and overseas employment, is one of the major projects of RTNMC and CBNC and will be officially launched this year under its Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) – a five-year plan budgeted to use as tool for the implementation of development programs in the mining communities that Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) approves, endorses and monitors.

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